Facebook Gets an “F,” Failing to Complete Nearly Half of Urgent Civil Rights Recommendations; Meta Claims A Division of Itself is Independent While Oversight Board Stays on the Sidelines

23 MARCH — The Real Facebook Oversight Board issued the following statement -

“Bloomberg today reported that Facebook’s Vice President of Civil Rights, Roy Austin, lauded the company’s progress for completing 55% of the recommendations made by a civil rights audit of the company in 2020, including the creation of his position.

Alarmingly, Austin seems to view this as ‘mission accomplished’, with no need for further oversight. From Bloomberg -

The audit created a “foundation” to know what Meta could improve upon, Austin said, but he doesn’t think the company needs additional reviews. He said it’s more effective to have an internal, “independent” team like his that’s dedicated to that work and can show results.

This is the kind of arrogance we’ve come to expect from Facebook — even after the revelations of the Facebook papers, thinking that a division of Facebook itself is somehow “independent,” and doesn’t need outside eyes. While Bloomberg notes that Facebook has faced criticism “In the past,” for “not doing enough to control hate speech, harassment and discriminatory advertising policies,” these are active and deep concerns today.

Real Facebook Oversight Board Member Jessica Gonzalez, who participated in the audit as the Co-CEO of Free Press, said it best on Twitter: 55% is an F.

This is another audit or inquiry into Facebook with no role or participation from Facebook’s own self-appointed Oversight Board, which continues to be missing in action - by design.

There should be no mistake: Facebook needs rigorous, robust external oversight and regulation to protect the civil rights of its users and of the countries where its platforms are used. Just this week, as their Vice President of Civil Rights made a jaunty appearance at Bloomberg’s Equality Summit, the Associated Press reported that the company continues to fail to detect hate against Rohyinga, leading to violence and even death.

We urge deeper scrutiny of the record. And we demand more than a failing grade.

Real Facebook Oversight Board members are available for interviews. Statements do not reflect the individual positions of all Real Facebook Oversight Board Members. Contact us at media@the-citizens.com.

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Real Facebook Oversight Board

Real Facebook Oversight Board

An emergency response to the ongoing harms on Facebook’s platforms from leading global scholars, experts and advocates.